Larger print for NHS letters in MK

A woman from Milton Keynes - who's registered as blind - is calling for the NHS to improve the way it provides letters and forms for blind and partially sighted people.

Paula Suchy - who's 48 and lives in Eaglestone - can't read the format she currently receives them in.

It means she struggles to find out when her hospital appointments are and, if she needs to change them, finds it hard to see the number to call to re-arrange the date or time.

In the past she has also had difficulty with forms and questionnaires and told Heart about one experience when she went in for an X Ray on her hips:

"I had a form that I would have been able to fill in had I been able to see it, but unfortunately it wasn't in large print or on tape or anything like that. So the man who brought it in filled it in for me, very kindly, but although he knew what the questions were going to be and knew they were going to be quite personal didn't take me anywhere private to do it. So it was done in a fairly public area and I really feel that confidentiality could easily be compromised under those circumstances." 

Click here to hear the full interview with Paula.

Research from the RNIB has found that 95 percent of blind and partially sighted people are never asked and rarely receive confidential information from NHS staff in large print, e mail or Braille, or other formats they can read.

The charity has also found that 72 percent of blind and partially sighted people are unable to read information from their GP and 81% can't read medicine instructions and safety notices.

An event is being held today (Friday) that will give blind and partially sighted people in Milton Keynes a chance to discuss the problem with NHS representatives, local politicians and others stakeholders. It's at The Peartree Centre in Peartree Bridge between 2pm and 4pm.

In a statement Milton Keynes Hospital said:

We are committed to working with patients, carers and relatives in order to ensure our patient information keeps improving. As part of this commitment we particularly welcome a forthcoming meeting on Friday with RNIB and local blind and partially sighted people as a great opportunity to talk to them about how we can do better and always make sure that they get the information they need in the format which is best for them.  

The Trust works hard to ensure that important information is available to our patients in a format they can use. This includes making information available in leaflets, booklets, information sheets, posters, videos, on websites and on CD. We also make information available in alternative languages and formats like large print and audio. 

Our guidance for producing information reflects that each individual patient is unique and so where a patient asks for a specific piece of information to be made available to them in large print, or any other alternative format, our patient information lead works closely with the department treating the patient to help make this information available.

This is in adherence with the guidance set out by the Department of Health in their Toolkit for Producing Better Patient Information, the Plain English Campaign, Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and the Care Quality Commission Standards for Better Health.